‘I cre­ated a bo­hemian home’

Louise trans­formed a bland rented prop­erty into a cool, eclec­tic home, burst­ing with lush green touches

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When my part­ner Thomas and I moved into our rented flat, the rooms were re­ally dull and unin­spir­ing,’ ex­plains Louise. ‘I wanted the space to feel like a home, but we were re­stricted in what we could to do the prop­erty. The last ten­ants had painted the walls dark pur­ple and our land­lord had to paint the walls cream. Af­ter that ex­pe­ri­ence, he wasn’t keen to let us dec­o­rate the space.’

Un­able to use paint, I was stuck on how to make our new home feel like ‘us’. I made a big mis­take by buy­ing fur­ni­ture be­fore we moved in. At the time, I’d wanted a glam look with black fur­ni­ture and sil­ver ac­ces­sories. I quickly grew to dis­like that look, but I thought I was stuck with it, as we couldn’t af­ford to change it.

Seeds of an idea

When pick­ing up the weekly su­per­mar­ket shop, I saw a small trop­i­cal plant for £2.50 and on the spur of the mo­ment, I bought it. I’d never had an in­ter­est in plants be­fore but I liked the way they added per­son­al­ity to a cor­ner of my home. Each week, I started to buy a dif­fer­ent plant and soon I had a grow­ing col­lec­tion. Our flat has large win­dows that let in lots of nat­u­ral light, and ev­ery plant seemed to thrive in here.

As I filled my home with plants, my new love of leafy greens started to in­flu­ence my taste too. I no­ticed I was more at­tracted to earthy tones and palm prints. I loved the tribal, bo­hemian, arty look. I started to fol­low lots of peo­ple on Pinterest and In­sta­gram who had a sim­i­lar in­te­rior style, and I took in­spi­ra­tion from what they had done in their spa­ces.

Luck of the draw

The big change in my home de­sign hap­pened when I won my bed­room rug in a com­pe­ti­tion. I’d been lust­ing af­ter an eth­nic-style kilim rug for months but couldn’t af­ford the £400 price tag. It

took pride of place in my bed­room. I seemed to come into a lucky streak, and over the next three months, I won over £4,000 worth of things, in­clud­ing rugs, bed­room fur­ni­ture, a throw, art, a stool and hang­ings. I started to buy lot­tery tick­ets as I couldn’t be­lieve my luck!

Adding per­son­al­ity

These prizes were the only way I could dec­o­rate my home on my tight bud­get – that, and look­ing in char­ity shops, where I started to find fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories in the warm colours I liked. I picked up the wicker chair in my bed­room for just £3 and lots of my cush­ions on the sofa were sec­ond-hand.

I de­cided to start sell­ing off all my black fur­ni­ture, re­plac­ing it with a wooden wardrobe and bed­side ta­bles in a rus­tic fin­ish. I wanted to in­tro­duce these earthy tones through our home so that the whole flat had a sim­i­lar look through­out. Slowly, our home started to gain its own per­son­al­ity, filled with prints and pat­terns.

Our son Cooper’s room is the only space that is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to the rest of our house. Our land­lord let us paint the wall grey and I put up a large wall sticker up. As this his first bed­room, I wanted him to feel that it was spe­cial for him.

I spent most of our dec­o­rat­ing bud­get on things for his room like his cot and the wardrobe. There wasn’t much left for the rest of our home so I had to be in­ven­tive with my ideas.

Crafty cre­ations

Dur­ing my ma­ter­nity leave, I started to make things for our home. I watched lots of Youtube videos on how to make macrame hang­ings. I started with a

small one in my liv­ing room, then, when I re­alised how easy they were to make, I made one for my bed­room, too. I’ve also made pom­pom bas­kets, lamp­shades and up­cy­cled fur­ni­ture all from watch­ing video tu­to­ri­als on­line.

As we lived in a rented flat, we weren’t al­lowed to use nails in the walls, and it was a real strug­gle hang­ing any­thing up. Look­ing in a pound shop, I found these sticky strips that you can use to hang pic­tures up with­out dam­ag­ing your walls. These were great for cre­at­ing a gallery wall of palm prints and for hang­ing up pic­tures in the hall­way.

Us­ing my imag­i­na­tion

I’d al­ways loved in­te­rior de­sign but I thought liv­ing in a rented prop­erty would make it im­pos­si­ble to get the look I wanted. I’ve had to be in­ven­tive with

‘if you’re stuck with a par­tic­u­lar scheme, have a reg­u­lar change-up of your ac­ces­sories, to vary the look’

how I dec­o­rate. I started to put my home on In­sta­gram, post­ing up pic­tures of hang­ings and my cush­ions. I was so sur­prised by all the great feed­back I got back from across the globe, es­pe­cially about my plants!

In fact, I think I have a bit of an ad­dic­tion to plants. I have more than 40 now, and I of­ten get peo­ple ask­ing for ad­vice on look­ing af­ter them, even though I’m still learn­ing my­self. I love the pops of green they add. I have one on ev­ery sur­face, and I still like to pick up new ones each week.’

BOLD & Bud­get ‘The long black cur­tains came from Ikea, and I al­tered them to fit the win­dow drop. They were the cheap­est op­tion by far’

PALM PRINTS ‘I bought this palm print cush­ion from Pri­mark af­ter see­ing it all over In­sta­gram’

TASSELTASTIC ‘I made the hang­ing be­hind the bed af­ter watch­ing Youtube video tu­to­ri­als.’

CRAFTY Cor­ner ‘I made the tas­sel bas­ket from a lamp­shade that I wrapped in green wool. The leather han­dles are an old belt’

‘This daybed is where my mum stays when she comes to visit, but when it’s not in use , it makes a handy sofa to re­lax on with Cooper’ GUEST room.

DARK SHADE ‘We in­her­ited this cream suite. i added mul­berry ac­ces­sories from h&m’

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